Jade is a succulent plant that grows up to 12 feet tall under natural conditions. The dwarf jade variety is a plant that is can withstand drought and adapts well to pruning for bonsai. This makes the plant easy for beginning bonsai artists and ideal for those that are more advanced. The jade bonsai leaves are fleshy in texture and the plant will bloom pink flowers in the spring season.
Plant the jade in a bonsai soil medium or mix one that is 60 percent sand and 40 percent loam. Place stones at the bottom of the pot to assist with water drainage.
Shape the plant by pruning the branches between early spring and summer. Cut back one to two pairs of leaves at the end of summer if the plant has at least four to five pairs of leaves present. Remove all shoots that grow directly from the truck or branches on the crown.
Encourage directional plant growth by placing the plant in an area where it will grow to reach light.
Continue to prune new growth to shape the bonsai plant. New growth can be pruned in any season as the process does not disrupt normal plant growth. The plant will begin to droop from the weight of the branches and form a cascade or semi-cascade type of bonsai.
Prune the root system of the jade bonsai the spring following pruning the top of the plant. Unpot the plant and prune the roots by removing circular and large roots. Keep small and hair roots as these absorb water more efficiently. Remove no more than 20 percent of the root structure in one pruning session.
Water the plant well and remove from direct sunlight for one to two weeks following root pruning.
Inspect the root structure on a yearly basis by removing the plant from the container. Repot and prune the roots every two to three years or when the roots form a ball around the pot.
Place jade bonsai in full sunlight conditions. Water the plant well once the soil becomes dry.